合成生物學 Synthetic Biology

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合成生物學英語:Synthetic Biology)是將生物科學應用到日常生活中的一種嶄新方式。英國倫敦的皇家科學院(Royal Society)認為,合成生物學結合了其他領域的知識工具,涉及的領域包括系統生物學基因工程機械工程機電工程資訊理論物理學奈米技術電腦模擬等等。

目前,合成生物學已在多個行業落實應用,例如農業能源製造業醫學等等。

歷史

合成生物學家試圖創造出一種以脫氧核醣核酸(DNA)編寫的語言。為了達此目的,需要設計DNA片段,而這些DNA片段已獲標準化處理,能與其他片段輕易連結。每個片段代表著個別指示,而將它們組合起來,便成為一個程式,能夠指示細胞進行一系列工作。這個過程類似編寫電腦程式又或是製造機器人,不同之處是其製成品是具有生命繁殖力的活細胞

合成生物學能夠迅速發展成為一門學科,有賴DNA編碼能力的急速提升。憑著近年在化學合成分子生物學發展成果,終能將整個基因組直接從它們的去氧核糖核酸建構基(A、T、G及Cs)合成。這種技術成本準確程度及反應時間等各方面,一直得到迅速改善。在可見將來,即使要從開始來創造基因組,亦會變得輕而易舉。

 

現今的應用範圍

[編輯]生物能源

進行細胞工程,將澱粉質纖維素農業廢物)及二氧化碳中的轉化為具效益的產物,包括交通工具所需燃料。利用可再生原料進行碳中和化合]]作用,有助減少溫室氣體的排放。

[編輯]綠色製造

傳統塑膠紡織製造業牽涉的製作過程,往往需用上高溫和有害溶劑,更會產生污染物。就上述步驟進行細胞工程將可以引伸出一系列程序,其中一些更可以在室溫環境下進行,最後不會產生有害的副產品。

[編輯]農業

目前,合成生物學獲應用於植物工程學,將有助科學家設計一系列能帶來更豐碩收成、具抗病能力,及能抵抗極端或惡劣環境的農作植物品種

[編輯]製藥業

可重新改造細菌酵母,達致低成本的目的,例如採用經基因重組細菌生產瘧疾及降膽固醇藥物。上述過程將有效大幅降低生產成本,從而將藥物推廣於發展中國家的龐大市場

[編輯]醫療

重整人類細胞,與人體組織器官作更佳結合;而細菌人類免疫細胞則可獲轉用於發展多項針對不健全細胞組織的療法,有助對抗癌病及一些遺傳病

 

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Synthetic biology is a new area of biological research and technology that combines science and engineering. It encompasses a variety of different approaches, methodologies, and disciplines with a variety of definitions. The common goal is the design and construction of new biological functions and systems not found in nature.

The scientists who engage in synthetic biology research approach the creation of new biological system from different perspectives, focusing on finding how life works (the origin of life) or how to use it to benefit society. The former focus includes the approach of biology, inserting man-made DNA into a living cell; and chemistry, working on gene synthesis as an extension of synthetic chemistry. The latter focus includes engineering, building the new biological system as a platform for various technologies; and rewriting, rebuilding the natural systems to provide the engineered surrogates.

The advance of synthetic biology relies on several key enabling technologies provided at ever increasing speed and lower cost. DNA sequencing, fabrication of genes, modeling how synthetic genes behave, and precisely measuring gene behavior are essential tools in synthetic biology.

Biosafety and biosecurity concerns are the understandable response to this new science and technology that have the potential to profoundly change the nature of life forms as we know it. Numbers of civic society groups and online forums called for study of societal and ethical impact of this new technology, licensing and monitoring. The community of synthetic biology has discussed policy options and started initiatives of self-regulation. Symposia and meetings by the broader science community have brought the efforts at developing guidelines and regulations; addressing the issues of intellectual property and governance, and the ethical, societal and legal implications. Several bioethics research institutes published reports on ethical concerns and the public perception of synthetic biology. A report from the U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues called for enhanced federal oversight in the United States on this emerging technology.

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